Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan – Backgrounder

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan

June 8, 2016

Ontario is leading the fight against climate change — taking strong action by ending dirty coal, setting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets, establishing a cap and trade program and building transit.


In November 2015, Ontario released a Climate Change Strategy to set the long-term vision for meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The Climate Change Action Plan builds on that strategy and brings together effective climate-saving actions from across government.


Through the action plan, Ontario will ensure cap and trade proceeds are invested in a transparent and accountable way back into projects that fight climate change.


Ontario will do this by helping households reduce their emissions, use less energy and save more money by investing in home energy retrofits, social housing, and electric vehicle (EV) incentives and infrastructure, and by establishing a green bank to deploy low carbon energy systems in homes.


The province will support industries and manufacturers that transform their operations and reliance on carbon-based fuels and peak electricity, while creating good jobs in the clean-tech sector.


And Ontario is helping small and medium-sized businesses reduce greenhouse gas pollution and become more energy efficient.


And that’s just the start. The plan includes actions that focus on climate change solutions in seven main sectors, including transportation, buildings and homes, land-use planning, industry and business, collaboration with First Nation and Métis communities, research and development, government, and agriculture, forests and lands.


Actions in this plan will help Ontarians in northern and southern Ontario, in rural areas and in big cities reduce their carbon footprint and lower their household bills.


Getting around


This action plan will help get more people into EVs and lower greenhouse gas pollution. Rebates of up to $14,000 until 2020 will make leasing or buying an EV more affordable. Actions include adding more public charging at workplaces, in apartments and condos as well as on highways and in downtowns. As well, overnight EV charging will be free for the next few years.


Additional rebates will be available to help low- and modest-income households replace old gasoline-powered cars with new or used electric cars.


Accelerated construction of GO infrastructure makes it easier to get around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


More bike lanes and better cycling infrastructure, like bike parking at transit hubs, will make it easier to get around on two wheels.


At home

Ontarians will be able to get grants to reduce the costs of installing low-carbon technology, like a solar water heating system or geothermal heating in their homes.


Those in the market for a new home and who are committed to the greenest option will be able to get help with the additional up-front costs associated with high-efficiency and renewable energy technology in homes.


Ontarians will have access to better information and tools to understand and manage energy use. Additional money can be saved by reducing energy consumption and taking advantage of time-of-use electricity rates.


For tenants

To ensure that carbon pricing does not negatively affect tenants, the province will develop changes to reduce the impact on residential tenants of increased energy costs from cap and trade. Ontario will also work to ensure building owners have access to energy-efficiency retrofit programs, such as boiler replacements and geothermal technology. In addition to reducing emissions, this would improve comfort for residents.


In the community

Planning complete communities will mean the community where you live will be more likely to be a place where you can walk, cycle and take transit to get most places. Lower-carbon communities with shorter commutes and less congestion will make getting around easier. If you live in a rural area, the natural and agricultural lands around you will be better protected from urban sprawl.



Larger industries will have access to programs that will help improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs, including dedicated funding to support the low-carbon transition for large and small emitters.



Small business

Small businesses will have access to programs that will help improve energy efficiency and lower energy costs including dedicated funding to support the low-carbon transition for large and small emitters.

Rural and Northern Ontario

Rural residents will be able to access programs under the action plan to reduce their use of fossil fuels, such as home energy retrofits to upgrade homes with technologies such as solar thermal, solar, energy storage systems, air-source heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps. Rural and Northern Ontario residents in particular will benefit from a program to help households replace older polluting wood stoves with newer electric stoves.


Ontario will encourage the use of cleaner, renewable natural gas in industrial, transportation and buildings sectors, the province's biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions


Indigenous communities

Ontario will collaborate with Indigenous communities to connect remote communities to low-carbon electricity to reduce their dependence on diesel for electricity generation.


The province will also work with Indigenous communities to pilot the use of small local electricity grids (microgrids) that use renewable energy, with a focus on biomass, solar, and waterpower.


Ontario will set up a fund for community-level emission reduction projects and community energy and climate action planning in Indigenous communities, particularly to reduce emissions from buildings and infrastructure.

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